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Diminishing Prospects: How U.S. Policy is Undermining Entrepreneurial Vision

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Jon Hansen

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"But there I was, eating lunch at Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale (ahh, the things we endure on our spouses’ birthdays!) when I started noticing the t-shirts from local start-ups and NASDAQ 100 companies that stood out like a dense chain of barren, monochromatic islands among a colorful, undulating sea of saris. I wondered how many of these foreign-born tech-sters would still be here in one year’s time? Three years? Five years? Because in case you haven’t noticed, America is facing a brain drain unlike any in our history." The above excerpt is from a reader who was commenting on Brad Feld's October 21, 2009 Blog post (Feld Thoughts)titled "Startup Visa Stories." Tied to his September 10, 2009 post "The Founder's Visa Movement," Feld believes that “the US should grant permanent residency to anyone who graduates from a qualified four year university with a computer science degree.” The basis for his position is that "These are young, talented entrepreneurs that have come out of a three month program with amazingly interesting startups," that if successful will create "US based high tech jobs." Unfortunately, the process for acquiring the needed Visa is in Feld's words "expensive, risky, and tiresome, causing these budding, high caliber entrepreneurs to seriously consider "returning to their home countries to build their businesses." In today's segment of the PI Window on Business I am joined by Brad Feld to delve deeper into the question of granting "Founders" Visas, including why it is a program that would make sense as well as the obstacles to its realization.

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